Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz, California has many great spots for outdoor adventurers. With its stunning beaches, lush parks, and scenic trails, there is something for everyone. From kayaking and paddleboarding to beach volleyball and surfing, there are plenty of water activities to enjoy. For those who prefer to stay on land, there are plenty of trails to explore, offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Cruz Mountains. Visitors can also explore the nearby redwood forests and take a stroll along the Area Santa Cruz Boardwalk. For a unique experience, take a whale watching tour or a boat ride to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. There are also plenty of must-visit attractions in and near the area, such as the Santa Cruz Wharf, Natural Bridges State Beach, and the Mystery Spot. With so many options, Santa Cruz is the perfect destination for those seeking an unforgettable outdoor experience.

Top Spots in and near Santa Cruz

  • Half Moon Bay, California

    Gray Whale Cove Trail

    4.5
    2.23 mi / 367 ft gain
    Gray whale cove trail is a splendid, short, and easy hike for the entire family with beautiful ocean views. The starting point is conveniently located near a parking lot that accesses Montara State Beach. From the south end of the parking lot, follow the trail up through the coastal scrub. Within...
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  • Half Moon Bay, California

    Montara Mountain North & Middle Peaks Loop

    4.3
    7.22 mi / 1929 ft gain
    NOTE: as of 2019, North Peak has been fenced off around the installation of a radio tower and weather station. Additionally, the summit has been found to be a habitat for the endangered San Bruno elfin butterfly. The Gray Whale Cove State Beach is a popular seaside trail that’s just 20 minutes s...
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  • Half Moon Bay, California

    Devil's Slide Bunker

    4.3
    The Devil's Slide Bunker is perched out on a point the defiantly juts out into the ocean. The Bunker is covered in constantly changing graffiti, which provides a stunning contrast to the gorgeous seaside. Hop on Highway 1 South. Just south of Pacifica there is a tunnel. Once you go through the t...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Camp at Ventana Campground, Big Sur

    4.6
    This campground is a gem when it comes to Big Sur camping, book here. Each site includes a parking spot, a campfire ring with grill, a picnic table, and plenty of space for 1-2 tents. There are multiple immaculate restroom facilities with showers, clean trash enclosures (emptied and sanitized dai...
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